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Never underestimate the power of a dog

August 2, 2012
by Shannon Brys
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Dogs are now serving as agents in the fight against mental illness

I am an animal lover, no doubt about that. So when I came across the CNN article yesterday about dogs assisting people in their fight against mental health issues, I was very intrigued.  I’ve had animals my entire life and I know that they can sense certain things. My animals usually become more affectionate and act concerned when I’m not feeling well or I’m sad. 

The author in this article starts by describing a relationship between a certain man and his dog. This man’s dog pulls him away from conflict situations and jumps on him to calm him down when he has anxiety attacks. The dog’s owner is a veteran and says that the dog helped him get through his symptoms of PTSD as well. 

Apparently dogs are being trained now to help people with their mental illnesses, similar to seeing-eye dogs being trained to help blind people. The article sheds light on the major reason for this increasing demand for these dogs, which is the returning veterans with PTSD. 

The article also touches on why people would want to get these psychiatric service dogs. One reason is because it makes the person feel more self-sufficient and secure. Dogs can also calm a person down and they serve as really great listeners.

There are different categories of dogs that provide different types of care to people depending on what mental health issue they are dealing with. Psychiatric service dogs, emotional support dogs and therapy dogs are the categories that are explained. 

It is a pretty lengthy article, but definitely worth checking out. It is amazing what animals can do.

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Shannon Brys